HOUSTON - State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) is urging voters to support two tax relief measures in Saturday’s Constitutional Amendment Election. Proposition 13 and Proposition 17 are the result of two property tax relief bills passed during the 78th Legislative Session and will bring much-needed assistance to the elderly and disabled - two groups of Texans hit hardest by rising property taxes.
Proposition 13 is the constitutional amendment to permit counties, cities and junior college districts to establish an ad valorem tax freeze on residence homesteads of the disabled and of the elderly and their spouses. Under current law, school taxes are frozen for people 65-or-older on their residence homestead, while there are many other taxing entities on their tax bill that continue to rise. If adopted, Proposition 13 will authorize the governing body of a county, city or junior college district to adopt a similar tax freeze for the elderly and disabled for a person’s residence homestead.
Further, Proposition 13 creates a process by which the voters of a county, municipality, or junior college district, by petition, may require a local option election to be called on the issue of adopting the limitation on the residence homestead taxes imposed on the disabled and elderly of the county, municipality, or junior college district. The proposed amendment provides that a limitation on taxes may not afterwards be repealed or rescinded.
Proposition 17 is the constitutional amendment to prohibit an increase in the total amount of school district ad valorem taxes that may be imposed on the residence homestead of a disabled person. Similar to Proposition 13, the proposed amendment would extend the same beneficial tax treatment that elderly persons are currently granted to disabled persons for school taxes. The amendment does not relieve disabled homeowners from all of the taxes they must pay to their school district, but extends the same protections that are provided to our senior citizens.
Adoption of both constitutional amendments would similarly protect elderly and disabled homeowners from increases in school district property taxes and give local communities the choice to limit increases on the other taxing entities, allowing our seniors and the disabled to remain in their homes.
Although property tax relief is needed for all Texans, these proposals seek to bring relief to those who many times are the hardest hit. Due to inflation, rising property values, or increases in tax rates, property taxes have consistently increased over time. Tax increases are particularly hard on persons on fixed incomes, such as many elderly or disabled persons, who may have to sell their homes in the face of ever-rising local property taxes.
“These amendments are the right thing to do for the elderly and disabled, many of whom live on fixed incomes and cannot afford the cost of rising property taxes. Folks in the golden years of their life should not have to worry about spiraling property taxes,” said Bohac. “Although stronger tax relief is needed for all Texans, these two propositions are steps in the right direction.”
Representative Bohac has been a strong proponent of tax relief while serving in the Texas Legislature. Bohac recently launched AppraisalCap.com, a website designed to increase public awareness of the issue of property tax appraisal relief for all Texas property owners. The website takes an in depth look at his appraisal relief proposal and is home to an online petition where Texas property owners can voice their support. Broad-based property tax relief is expected to be readdressed during the upcoming special session on school finance next spring.